Head-to-Head Comparison of Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation, Transcranial AC Stimulation, and Transcranial DC Stimulation for Tinnitus
De Ridder, D.
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Tinnitus is the perception of a sound in the absence of an external sound stimulus. This phantom sound has been related to plastic changes and hyperactivity in the auditory cortex. Different neuromodulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) have been used in an attempt to modify local and distant neuroplasticity as to reduce tinnitus symptoms. Recently, two techniques of pulsed electrical stimulation using weak electrical currents - transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) - have also shown significant neuromodulatory effects. In the present study we conducted the first head-to-head comparison of three different transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) techniques, namely tDCS, tACS, and tRNS in 111 tinnitus patients by placing the electrodes overlying the auditory cortex bilaterally. The results demonstrated that tRNS induced the larger transient suppressive effect on the tinnitus loudness and the tinnitus related distress as compared to tDCS and tACS. Both tDCS and tACS induced small and non-significant effects on tinnitus symptoms, supporting the superior effects of tRNS as a method for tinnitus suppression.